I am not a morning person. When given the option to get up and do things or sleep, I almost always choose sleep. That said, if I do wake up early, I can get along with my day without too much fuss.
Earlier this week, I got up at 5am. It was not by choice.
I tried lying in bed quietly to see if I could go back to sleep but to no avail. My brain had locked on to work things and wouldn't let go. Instead of fighting my alertness, falling asleep right before my alarm, and then jolting awake grumpy, I just got up.
What greeted me was a dark sky, quiet home, and pre-set coffee pot that had not started brewing yet.
It was kind of nice.
I set the coffee to brew while I sent out a few emails to deal with the work issue that was niggling my mind. Then, I poured a big mug of dark roast, cozied up on the couch, and just scrolled. Since COVID hit, it's not often that I feel like I get our home to myself. Instead of puttering around doing things, I enjoyed almost two hours of idle time without interruption.
What do you do when you can't sleep?
This was a looooooong week.
Our kiddo was exposed to COVID at daycare and we had to quarantine for 10 days... while working full-time. It was not great.
Early on in the week, we made the decision that screen time rules would go out the window. Our kiddo was thrilled that she got to watch her two favorite movies on repeat all week. I have now heard The Secret Life of Pets and The Secret Life of Pets 2 nearly a dozen times each.
Part of my mom guilt rages at this but - you know what - it's fine.
We are now two years into this pandemic and weeks like this are just about survival. There's only so much you can do when you have to work and have a kid who can't yet fully entertain themselves. It was much better for everyone's productivity and mental health to just let her happily watch and provide running commentary on the "doggies!"
What rules do you break to make it through rough weeks?
I stopped making resolutions.
I used to be that person saying "I will do X" and "I will become Y." But, after years of never doing or becoming, I just decided to stop. I was tired of setting myself up for failure. Every time I failed to follow through on a resolution, I felt guilt and shame. Who needs that? I finally realized that the only person I was disappointing was myself.
Now, instead of resolutions, I take a look at my to do lists and decide which things need to get done in the upcoming year. If it's a big project or goal, I decide which particular steps need to get done in order to make progress on those items. It's kind of like resolutions, but I find that making things actionable works better for me. (Something about getting to cross things off a list is just so darn satisfying.)
Last year, I also decided to try doing little things to help me focus on what's important. I think about what thing we could do every month to come together as a family or which activities will help me relax. Then, I take all of this and put it in the front of my bullet journal. I limit myself to a two page spread for everything. That way, it's a reasonable amount of stuff for the coming year. Do I get to everything it? Of course not. But, I find that this has been achievable and non-guilt inducing way for me to get things done.
How do you set up for the new year?
No Wrap this week. I'm enjoying the holidays.
If you want, I recommend heading over to my newsletter to see the most popular links for the email edition of TWW.
TWW will be back next Sunday.
See you in 2022!
Our kiddo's daycare is holding a mini spirit week the next few days. On Monday, the kids will wear a festive outfit. Tuesday is red or green. Wednesday is pajama day. Not gonna lie, I am envious of the fun.
This reminds me of my high school. The week before homecoming, we always had these crazy dress days. (I also dominated at our annual food twister event, but that is a story for another day.) I loved how everyone could chose to participate by doing crazy hair, dressing in PJs, or wearing their outfit backward. It was something simple but it was fun. It also created a sense of camaraderie.
I want this in the workplace. Why can't we have spirit weeks? Why can't we get everyone to wear a crazy patterned onesie or capes or their fanciest outfit or zaniest hat? While we're at it, let's have some office/cubicle/door decorating contests - let them be funded by companies and done on work time. Call it team building if you need to.
I know this stuff is not a replacement for, ya know, higher wages, reasonable hours, work/life balance and general respect and kindness in the workplace, but it would help. Work should be a little bit fun.
What thing from childhood do you wish you could bring to the office?
At the start of the pandemic, I had to learn how to work from home. I've always worked in an office, so losing the commute and coworkers was a big change for me. It only took a few weeks for me to learn that I needed to establish a routine if I was going to get into a rhythm of working from home.
One of the routines I added was to make Friday my "admin day."
After a week full of Zoom meetings and far too many e-mails, I realized that admin work was all my brain could tolerate by Friday. I use Fridays to clean out my inbox and follow-up folder, update my required monthly report, empty out my voicemail, clean up my Trello and Toggl, work on random "I've been meaning to organize this" projects, and set plans for the following week. If there's time, I also tackle my massive professional reading pile and watch webinar recordings.
My organization is back to work in hybrid mode now, but I am keeping my admin Fridays. I found it to be a productive use of my time that was not too taxing on my mental capacities.
What pandemic induced change are you going to keep?
Yesterday, I was out running an errand when I came across an e-cycling event at our local library branch.
We always seem to have a bag of stuff to e-cycle hanging about. It just gets fuller and fuller (seriously, where do all those random cords come from?) until I can't take it hanging in our closet anymore. Then, we have to figure how to squeeze in some errands that include dropping this annoying bag off. Sadly, there is no e-cycle location close to us.
That is why I was so happy to see this event pop-up. I finished my errand, ran home, and grabbed the e-cycle bag. Then all I had to do was walk a block to the truck, thank the people running the event, and I was done. No errand planning. No squeezing something in to an already busy day. No getting more and more annoyed that the cords are somehow multiplying behind my back. Just a quick trip down the street and I was done. This made my day.
What random thing made your week a little bit better?
This week, I submitted the final draft of our new library website for review and testing to our team. I have been working on this project for six months - hand-coding almost all of the HTML and CSS, writing and editing the content, and testing out various visual images.
This project was the bane of my existence.
I hate coding HTML and CSS. I hate how much detail there is. I hate how one little thing can cascade and destroy other work that took me hours to finish. My loathing comes from the fact that I am not a trained coder and have to learn as I go. I never designed a persistent nav bar before... or a custom footer... or proactive chat. All of this was complicated by the fact that the base program we use complicates things and all this coding happens in two separate windows on top of base system coding I can't touch. So, there's just a lot a testing... and sometimes the breaking of the existing webpage. (Whoops!)
But I kept at it and I am really happy with the results. Depending on what the team says, it should just be tweaking and written content changes left. Then we can go live and, hopefully, provide a much better user experience.
I'm so proud of myself for pushing through on this project. In fact, I was so proud of myself I threw a solo dance party in my office after I sent out the announcement email. I'm proud that I didn't give up. I'm proud that I followed my gut on design ideas. I'm proud that this will make a huge difference for our library and users. I'm just so friggin proud that I am done and this can be checked off my to do list.
What are you proud of?
I am a creature of habit.
I like my routines. I am a type A planner and I like knowing what is coming. That extends to Thanksgiving.
On Thursday, we will be making our usual meal. And, by usual, I mean that some recipes have been on my plate for over two decades. One such dish is orange glazed carrots. My mom found this in an issue of Cooking Light and we've eaten it at almost every Thanksgiving since. I even made it when I went to visit my future in-laws before the husband and I got married. My mom made the mistake of trying to cut this from the menu one year and I puppy dog eyed it back on the menu.
As much as I am set in my ways, I am willing to make tweaks to the menu. This year, just like last year, there will only be three of us celebrating in our home. So, we're sous viding a turkey breast (again) instead of making a full bird. But, our sides are the same - those yummy carrots, mashed potatoes, gravy (from a jar), green beans, cranberry sauce, crescent rolls, and the all important stuffing. We use the Pepperidge Farm blue bag mix and add butter sauteed onion, celery, and bacon. Shake in some Old Bay seasoning and, if I get my way, slip in some dried cranberries.
My tummy is rumbling already.
What's your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?
The Wrap looks a bit paltry this week. That's because we are potty training our kiddo.
This is one of those parenting milestones that I've dreaded. I built everything up in my head and, frankly, reading the internet about this does not help. There are more horror stories than wins.
We're only a few days into this but it's not as bad as I feared. (Take that anxiety!) Sure, we still have a ways to go but I'm no longer afraid. Accidents happen and big changes take time. We'll get through it.
What thing have you dreaded doing that, ultimately, turned out fine?
Share in the comments! I'm sure we can also use a list of wins to read.